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A Critical Appraisal of Measuring Outcomes in Relation to AAC

Sponsored Research
  • Sally Boa (Talking Mats Ltd)
  • Joan Murphy (Talking Mats Ltd)

This project, funded by NHS Education Scotland, aimed to: critically appraise outcome measures in AAC; examine how outcome measures for AAC are currently used in Scotland, the UK and internationally; and provide recommendations for future work in this area.


Carry out literature search; synthesise findings with 'Outcome Measurement Report' (Communication Matters, 2012) and 'Framework for Measuring Impact'; conduct online survey for AAC practitioners; and organise expert panel meetings.


  • The literature search identified that a wide range of outcome measures exist and that the purposes and application of these vary.
  • Outcome measures and assessments appear to exist on a spectrum and distinguishing between them is not straight forward.
  • The use of outcome measures in AAC is at best variable and at worst non-existent.
  • The panels clarified the difference between outcome measures and assessment; what we are measuring, who outcome measures are for and which existing measures are useful in AAC.


Outcome measurement in AAC is an important topic, but poorly understood and defined. The literature review, online survey and expert panel findings indicate that there is a need to determine a definition of outcome measures, examine terminology and look at existing measures which offer promise.